Nominated for "Seinfeld" in 1997

Inspirations: Mehlman expresses a love for such ground-breaking sitcoms as “Taxi,” “Seinfeld” and “All in the Family,” with drama “The West Wing” cited as the odd man out.

“All of those shows changed the form,” he maintains. He highlights “Seinfeld” as being especially anomalous: “It worked so well but was against all the rules. No huggable moments, the characters weren’t particularly likable, all it relied on was being funny.”

Influences: “‘Seinfeld’ is the only show that really influenced me to become a television writer, and that’s the first one I was on,” says Mehlman, “It pretty much influenced everything in terms of being purely funny, while having some really good observational stuff in there.”

Moments: “I really love that I was just driving home in my car one day and I heard the contraceptive sponge went off the market. I turned that into an entire episode where the word sponge became part of the lexicon. That’s as good as it gets.

“That’s one of the things I was most proud of on ‘Seinfeld,’ that you’re actually having some kind of impact on the culture.”

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